Loud Music Saves Lives(?)
There seems to be this ongoing debate about loud pipes. Some among the biker nation are in the PC camp of treading lightly and going softly down the road, in the hopes that courtesy will endear them to cage-dwellers and society in general.
Others take the Attila the Hun approach of installing the loudest pipes money can buy in the hope that this will awaken Susie Cheesecake from her cell-phone-induced coma while she’s piloting her Escalade and applying makeup.
And then there are those who favor a Sturm und Drang approach. This requires cranking up the volume of your motorcycle’s sound system to decibels that will shock motorists into attention as you pass. This usually elicits a quick “WTF” as said motorist thinks his car has simultaneously upchucked its timing belt and an F15A has mistaken this particular stretch of road for a runway. A lot depends on your choice of music. The Gipsy Kings may be OK to some, but others need something like Metallica to really shake things up. Then again, if one wants to impart a little culture, there’s always Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyrie,” which can be played at a volume a la the scene in Apocalypse Now. It’s guaranteed to get one noticed on the highway. The debate rages on…
Double Dose: Ultimate Hits
Of all those high-flying, over-the-top ’80s metal bands, Poison has had the most to prove. To establish legitimacy, they first had to do what other bands did—move to LA. Consisting of Bret Michaels, Bobby Dall, and Rikki Rockett, the original trio next held auditions for a fourth member, which ended up being C.C. Deville (Guns N’ Roses’ band-mate Slash was one who didn’t get the job).
Despite being dismissed by many know-nothing music critics, the band caught fire during the latter half of the ’80s, propelled by constant touring and a run of great pop-metal singles. No doubt, “sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll” was one of the underlying themes to their success. The band would go on to have personnel changes and myriad other issues, but none worse than your usual famous hard-partying rock band.
Capitol has seen fit to promote the band’s 25th anniversary with this new two-CD set that should contain enough Poison to send even the most jaded fan into a fit of rock ’n’ roll delirium. Think of it as another one of those party-in-a-box projects. Add liberal doses of hits “Talk Dirty To Me,” “Fallen Angel,” “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” key crowd-pleasers like “Unskinny Bop,” “I Want Action,” “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” etc., and sprinkle with other interesting tidbits. Ah, if only music could make hair grow, then everyone would be wearing spandex again. Which we can’t endorse because watching a biker accidently set his pants on fire from a hot exhaust pipe is not a pretty thing. Digression aside, this collection makes for a darn fine ride down Memory Expressway.
Man in Motion
As the title indicates, this is an excellent album for tearing up the twisties or surfing along the interstate. And North Carolina–native Warren Haynes is a man who’s been in motion all of his life; just the one to provide the right sounds to perfect your riding skills, assuming of course you have a sense of rhythm. From stints in David Allen Coe to The Allman Brothers to Government Mule, Warren Haynes has been grinding his axe into a modern soul-rock musical sculpture that defies the usual categorizing. Sure, sounds familiar. But everything’s been whipped into Warren’s own unique concoction that goes down with just the right amount of sting.
It’s obvious the man grew up listening to all the soul greats from Motown to Stax. This album, recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studios in analog and with vintage tube microphones (ask your grandfather), Warren crafted a southern-fried one-hour-plus masterpiece. Backed with Ivan Neville on background vocals and organ, Ian McLagan on piano, Ruthie Foster on background vocals, George Porter Jr. on bass, and Ron Holloway on saxophone, Haynes reveals his own smooth-as-Jack-Daniels vocals, all the while playing up a storm. He easily navigates between soul, funk, gospel, and rock with a little boogie woogie thrown in for extra measure. The horn section is tight. The beer is cold. The pool table is open. All you need to do is turn up Man In Motion and shake yer booty.
No Time for Dreaming
Released earlier this year, No Time for Dreaming is a CD that got shuffled off to the side of my desk at first. I mean, who is Charles Bradley anyway? Well, when the tray closes on this CD, prepare to be catapulted back in time. Suddenly it’s the early ’60s and you’re at an Otis Redding show. It’s hot and sweaty, and the band is on fire. This is what Chares Bradley is all about. He’s Wilson Pickett and James Brown at the same time. And he’s one of the music industry’s best-kept secrets of the new millennium.
At the tender age of 61, Mr. Bradley is just getting around to releasing his first album. His bio alone would make a better movie than most of those autobiographies written by spoiled teen brats who lucked into fame and fortune. The press release tells us that Charles’ profession by trade is a cook. And he’s been at it all of his life, all over the country, until he was discovered doing his James Brown routine at a small local club in Brooklyn during his night off. The eventual resulting recording session yielded No Time for Dreaming. It stands to reason he’s been cooking because this is one hot dish he’s served up. He should consider his dues paid in full. Not even the best BBQ joint in Memphis can compete with the lip smackin’, smoky goodness of these tunes. In fact, it’s a surprise the CD booklet isn’t grease-stained. The greatest soul singers are like preachers and listeners are the flock. When Charles sings “Heartaches and Pain,” “I Believe in Your Love,” or “Why Is It So Hard,” one realizes it’s coming from someplace real. You’ll want to get up and testify. Mr. Bradley has obviously lived the emotions expressed in these songs and there’s no better attribute for authenticity. Charles may not be venturing into new territory, but he’ll take you to familiar places you’ll love.
Album Of The Month
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Revelator is the first album from the Tedeschi Trucks band. By now, blues aficionados know Susan Tedeschi is one bad mama jama of a blues artist. Even from her very first album released way back in 1998, the Bonnie Raitt comparisons were expected, especially since both cut their blues chops in and around the Boston area. Fast-forward a few years after a few more solo albums, Susan eventually met up with future husband and full-fledged Allman Brother Derek Trucks. Things clicked. The two share an obvious chemistry, with Susan often taking the point and leading the way. Make no mistake, this girl can play guitar and sing while Derek seems to hang back, adding his tastefully restrained and measured slide guitar licks. He’s one of the best slide guitarists ever and Duane Allman and Lowell George would be justifiably proud.
The 11-member band has all the right grooves and together they traverse through funktified blues and gritty R&B, rockin’ and staying tight all the while. The band borrows many elements from the southern region of the country. Predictably New Orleans and Memphis figure heavily in boogie numbers like “Until You Remember” and “Bound for Glory.” Susan’s vocals, which seem to get better with every album, mesmerize on songs like “Midnight in Harlem” and “These Walls.” Susan manages to seduce you and then take you to church, which is alright with us. We highly recommend catching their act live, because they absolutely kill it. The only remaining question is, what’s this album doing on a classical music label?